NAI Announces Retirement of Executive Director Margo Carlock

After almost eight years of dedicated service to the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) and the field of interpretation, Margo Carlock has announced her retirement as NAI’s Executive Director effective September 30.

Jay Miller, NAI President, notes, “For myself and the Board of Directors, this is sad news. I have had the honor of working with Margo and have seen her leadership in action. Margo is thoughtful and creative, providing inspiration and motivation to the Board and the professional staff. She has set a high standard for integrity and respect. She is constantly focused on what is best for NAI, the members, and the profession, including business practices that have moved NAI from operating in the red to paying off the mortgage and operating in the black. Under her leadership we have seen our membership grow to over 7,000 and include members from over 30 countries. I thank her for her dedication to NAI and wish her all the best in her retirement.”

Margo came to NAI after a long career in public service in state and federal agencies, including as a diplomat in the US Foreign Service, and in leadership roles in nonprofit museum and cultural organization management. She has been a staunch advocate for our nation’s natural and cultural heritage resources.

As Executive Director, Margo joined NAI in a transitional period of the association’s history. Under her leadership, NAI was able to cut expenses, increase revenue, pay off debt, and build reserves, which will help NAI survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and take the association into its next chapter. Other achievements during her tenure include:

  • A robust growth in membership, particularly in the area of museum and cultural heritage interpretation
  • Expansion of certification and other training programs 
  • The revision of national standards for interpretation that will inform revised certifications
  • A revitalized national conference, and the development of a partnership model for NAI’s international conference
  • Operational improvements including an enhanced association management system and its integration with NAI’s certification database
  • Increased visibility on the national level and partnerships with sister organizations
  • Advocacy for the field both internally and externally

“It is with mixed emotions that I leave NAI,” Margo said. “I have truly enjoyed working with the wonderful staff and dedicated board members who together have made NAI such an outstanding organization over the years. I have the greatest admiration and respect for our members and the difficult but rewarding work they do, and feel blessed that I have met so many incredible people who I am honored to count as friends.”

Margo’s plans for retirement include dusting off her golf clubs and joining her partner Russ and their golden retriever Lucky in hitting the road to explore our nation’s parks and historic sites. She hopes to stay engaged with the field though, and will be looking for ways to continue to make meaningful contributions.